Weight Loss Diet Plans – Uses, Benefits, and Limitations

Weight Loss Diet

Obesity has grown into an epidemic over the past few years and can cause substantial health risks even in small children. No matter how much we try, burning those extra few kilos of fat is no child’s play. There are many weight loss diet programs available nowadays and all of them guarantees weight loss. But, have you ever realized that even after trying so hard, you fail to lose weight?

Choosing the right weight loss diet plan can be tricky. Not all weight-loss diets are suitable for your body type. Before choosing a diet plan, we need to understand the basics of weight loss and how it works.

Choosing the Right Weight Loss Diet Plan

Food cultures have changed across the globe. Nowadays there is a tendency of consuming an excess amount of carbohydrates like rice, wheat, and sugar. Our daily intake of fast foods and snacks has increased which is a prime reason for obesity in the younger generation.

A good weight-loss meal plan must be well-balanced, should limit the calorie intake, and at the same time must not drain our body out of the necessary nutrients.

Questions to ask

Some diets may work for some people, but it may not work for you. It’s not easy to choose the right diet plan. Wondering how to choose the right diet plan? Here are a few questions that you might want to ask yourself before choosing your diet plan.

  • Will you be able to sustain the weight-loss program? Some weight loss programs may be too harsh on your body. Following them, in the long run, can be difficult.
  • Does it match your eating habits? The diet plan should be easy to follow. It should be easy to cook and must not contradict with your family’s eating habits.
  • Does the diet plan include exercise? Eating a healthy diet alone will not help you lose weight. You need to burn your calories and for that, you need exercise regularly. The exercise regimen should be doable and not too strenuous for your body.
  • Is it a well-balanced diet? You should choose a diet that is rich in fibers, fruits, vegetables, and proteins. It should also include portions of your favorite food items. Your weight loss diet should not deprive you completely of all your favorite foods.
  • Does your diet plan control the portions you eat? It should be a well-planned and flexible diet regimen.
  • Does it include too many supplements?
  • Can you have snacks in between meals or when hungry?
  • Does your diet plan include enough fluid intake?
  • Does it keep you hungry?

Most importantly, choose a weight loss diet that is slow and steady. A slow and gradual weight loss program is easy to follow and will help you achieve your diet goals without being too hard on your body.

Weight loss diet programs

Now let us have a look into some of the best weight loss diet programs that will help you to lose weight as well as lead a healthy lifestyle.

1. Go Vegan

We all have heard about the vegan diet. It is quite popular nowadays. But what is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet follows the principles of veganism whereby it restricts the intake of any kind of animal products on grounds of cruelty, ethics, and health issues.

A vegan diet is very hard to follow. A person following a vegan diet has to give up all animal proteins like meat, fish, eggs, and also products obtained from animals like milk, honey, whey, casein, etc.

How is a vegan diet useful?

A vegan diet restricts the proteins and thereby helps in a significant reduction in calorie intake. It is a sure-shot method to lose weight.

Vegan diets have proved to be more effective in reducing BMI or body mass index compared to other diet regimens. The diet includes more fibers which will make you feel full for a longer period and hence there is less urge for hunger.

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Benefits:

  • Less calorie intake.
  • Works faster than other diets.
  • A strictly plant-diet reduces the risks of diabetes and heart ailments.
  • Increases longevity.
  • Reduces risks of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Increases digestion.

Limitations:

A vegan diet excludes animal proteins completely. This reduces essential nutrients derived from animal products like vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, iron, calcium, etc.

2. Paleo Diet

If you are looking for a good diet plan for weight loss, the paleo diet can be a good choice. A paleo diet is a whole food diet. It is based on the food diet of ancient ancestors like hunters who used to take whole foods and led a much healthier life.

The paleo diet believes in following a simple diet and avoiding adulterated and processed foods. This helps in preventing a lot of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

Foods to avoid in paleo diet:

  • Grains like bread, barley, rye, wheat, etc.
  • Beverages, fruit juices, and soft drinks with high sugar content. Other food items like candies, ice-creams, and pastries.
  • Legumes like beans and lentils.
  • Dairy products especially low-fat dairy. Margarine should be avoided.
  • Some oils like corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, etc.
  • Artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sucralose, etc.
  • All kinds of processed foods.

Foods for the paleo diet include:

  • Any kind of organically grown foods.
  • Proteins including meat, fish, seafood, eggs, etc.
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Healthy oils like avocado oil, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, etc.
  • Spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, salt, etc.
  • Gluten-free rice.
  • Tea and coffee for beverages.
  • Red wines. They are rich in antioxidants.
  • Dark chocolates. They have less sugar content.

Benefits:

The paleo diet is extremely nutritious and is good for reducing blood pressure, heart ailments, triglycerides, and cholesterol.

Limitations:

One of the downsides of the paleo diet is that it completely prohibits the intake of legumes and dairy products which are essential sources of nutrients. The paleo diet can be difficult to follow but fortunately, more flexible diet regimens are available nowadays.

3. Low Carbohydrate Diets

A low carbohydrate diet is one of the best weight loss diet plans for losing weight. It includes a minimum amount of carb intake approximately 20 to 150 grams each day. The main idea is to burn more body fats for energy instead of using carbohydrates.

The low-carb diets emphasize more on proteins and fats which are unlimited sources of energy rather than on carbohydrates.

In the absence of carbohydrates, some of the fatty acids that travel to the liver are broken down into ketones which are used for energy.

Benefits:

  • Low-carb diets are extremely helpful in burning down belly fats.
  • The ketogenic diet due to the formation of ketones is much more effective in reducing weight than a low-fat diet.
  • Reduces appetite.
  • Controls blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and insulin, and triglycerides.

Limitations:

  • Your body may reject a low-carb diet.
  • May increase levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • In rare cases may cause nondiabetic ketoacidosis which can be life-threatening if not treated on time.

4. Mediterranean Diet

There is no clear definition for the Mediterranean diet but it is based on the ancient cuisines on the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is mainly a plant-based diet and uses moderate portions of dairy and animal proteins.

The diet mainly focuses on the increased consumption of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and extra-virgin olive oil.

The key components of the Mediterranean weight loss diet include:

  • Eat more fish, poultry, and eggs in place of red meat.
  • Eat nuts and whole fruits as snacks in between meals.
  • Limit the intake of dairy products.

Benefits:

  • Less use of trans fats like margarine that can affect health in the long run. The diet can include Greek yogurt and cheese.
  • More use of monounsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
  • Increased intake of fatty fish which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • It allows a moderate intake of red wine.

5. Low-Fat Diet

A fat-free diet is the best way to lose weight. Whatever we eat, our body stores the extra fat. So, we need to regulate our intake of calories to control our body weight.

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Our body gets around 30% of the fat from the food that we eat and it is more than sufficient. Some low-fat diets even promise to lower the fat content to about 10%.

Tips to low-fat diet:

  • Include a variety of food into your diet plan so that you get plenty of nutrition.
  • Eat lean meat, poultry, and low-fat fish.
  • Include a lot of plant products like vegetables, whole grains, lentils, and fruits in your diet.
  • Eat low-fat dairy products like skim milk, yogurts, and low-fat cheese.
  • Eat omega-3 fatty acids-rich food like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds twice a week. They are good for your heart.
  • Include more green salads with light salad dressings. They are rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients.

How to cook a low-fat diet?

  • Remove the outer skin of poultry and fatty fish before cooking.
  • For refrigerated soups and gravies, remove the frozen hard fat accumulation from the top.
  • Avoid deep-fried foods. Instead, eat baked or grilled meat and fish.
  • Try to avoid cheese, butter, and oil in foods. You can instead use spices, lemon juice, and herbs to zest up your dishes.
  • Instead of cream, use low-fat yogurt and sour cream.

Benefits:

  • Good for reducing health problems like diabetes, heart problems, and stroke.
  • Reduces inflammation.

Limitations:

Continuous use of a low-fat diet can deprive your body of the essential nutrients and fats that are needed for hormone production and cell growth.

 6. DASH Diet

Ever heard of the DASH diet? The DASH diet can be the best diet for weight loss especially if you have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a serious health problem and can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failures. The DASH diet has been designed especially for people with high blood pressure.

What is a DASH diet?

DASH stands for “Dietary approaches to stop hypertension”. The DASH diet is mainly a plant-based and is low in fat, carbs, and sugars.

Key components of a DASH diet include:

  • Plant products such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Lean meat, poultry, and low-fat fish.
  • Reduced intake of red meat and added sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt per day.

Benefits:

  • Controls blood pressure.
  • Reduces risk to heart ailments and cancer.

Limitations:

The low salt intake increases the risk of insulin resistance in the body which can lead to heart failures.

7. Weight Watchers (WW) Diet

Founded by Jean Nidetch the Weight Watchers weight loss diet program is one of a kind. The diet became immensely popular in a short period.

Recently the SmartPoints system was introduced in 2015 which adds points to foods depending on their food value.

The point system is based on different factors like:

  • Height
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Weight loss goals
  • The health value of the food

Healthier foods have low points than unhealthy fatty or sugar-rich foods like candies and soft drinks.

In 2017, the “Freestyle” program was introduced to make it more flexible and user-friendly for the dieters.

The Freestyle weight-loss program is based on zero-point foods like tofu, lean fish, skinless chicken, non-fat yogurt, beans, etc.

Benefits:

  • Includes physical activities like walking, dancing, exercising into its program.
  • It provides fitness videos to its dieters.
  • The WW weight loss diet program is flexible and easy to follow.
  • People with food allergies can follow this diet plan.

Limitations:

  • The flexibility of the plan can include unhealthy foods to the diet.
  • Membership plans can be costly.

 8. Dukan Diet

The Dukan diet is a high protein-rich diet. The diet was introduced by French dietician and nutritionist Pierre Dukan.

The idea behind the Dukan diet is based on the food habits of primitive hunters whose diets were mostly based on animal proteins.

The Dukan diet is based on high proteins and fewer carbohydrates. This makes a person feel full and less hungry.

The Dukan diet is divided into four phases and each phase has its significance. Oat bran is a necessary component of this diet. Oat bran is rich in fiber, is difficult to digest, and suppresses hunger for a long time.

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